Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Campus Visit Anon

I don't normally do requests, because...well, frankly, because I never actually get requests. But since abdme has asked, I'm happy to elaborate: early in December, I had a phone interview with a Southern Research University--unlike some of my fellow academics, I actually prefer phone interviews. For one thing, you can have them in your bathrobe and bunny slippers. (And yes, I actually own a pair, thanks to my friend/roommate/landlord--though to his credit and mine, they are Killer Bunny Slippers, huge jagged-fanged things that derive from the Rosetta Stone of Nerd Comedy, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I mostly wear them in front of new acquaintances, just to make sure they know they're dealing with a geek-addled eccentric.) For another--and this is more personal--I'm just not that good in interview situations. Apparently I'm very intense. (I know, you're thinking, You? Intense? Get out! But no, it's true.) And such intensity--I get too enthusiastic about whatever it is I'm talking about and just...go off--appears to be off-putting. Also, I'm simultaneously incredibly awkward and self-conscious, so I tend to twist my body into pretzel-like shapes of body-space defensiveness--all told, not a pretty picture. But over the phone, said picture is eliminated, and I come across as breezy and charming. Or so I'm told.

Anyway, it must be true in some sort, because said phone interview led to my being asked about a week later for a campus visit late this month. Details as to what I'll be expected to do are still hazy--though early reports indicate that rather than giving a paper, I'll be expected to teach an upper-division class, probably in Shakespeare. This..is...good. If I shine anywhere in life (a big "if"), it's in front of a class. I get to be the best version of myself: confident, smart, witty, charismatic, charming, entertaining, erudite, and enlightening. I get, in short, to rock. (I know, this sounds megalomaniacal, but my new shrink has insisted that I identify three things that are good about myself every day in an effort to combat my crippling self-loathing, so I'm just building up a repertoire.) And the chance to do Shakespeare makes it all the better--I'll get to recite monologues from memory--get to act, which always seems to wow 'em--and show that I can really, you know, teach. So, hopes are, miraculously enough, high. One never knows what the competition will be like, and I rather expect, given the number of applicants and the fact we're down to the final three, that it will be stiff. But I'm in the running, and it's a free trip to a lovely part of the country, and it's a chance to teach--and that...is always a good thing.


Blogger phd me said...

This is great news! Good stuff about teaching a class, too - interesting take on the interview process. May wittiness and erudition ooze from your pores.

I'm pretty sure I do much better in a classroom; I tend to either contort my legs or constantly fiddle with my fingers when I'm in a one-on-one situation. I'm not incompetant at interviews but I'm definitely not comfortable, so I just feel stupid.

Would love to know just what lovely part of the country you'll be visiting. Ahh, anonymity.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Yay! Congrats. I know you'll do well.

6:12 PM  
Blogger ArticulateDad said...

Congratulations and good luck on the campus interview. I feel the same way about getting up in front of a class. It's like being on stage, except you've got total control of the script... and the audience is always in your hands. Just think if you could wield such sway over the hearts and minds of "blue hairs" on a Thursday preview matinee. Ahhh! *SIGH*

Knock em dead, and tell us all about it.

9:39 AM  

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